Warning Plan B could cause long-term pint price rise as pubs ‘taken off life support’


Clive Watson, chairman of the City Pub Group, has warned of the knock-on effects of Plan B, which will introduce new face masks rules and the requirement for a Covid vaccine pass for certain venues

A barman serves a pint of lager at The Plymouth Arms pub in Cardiff
The pub industry has warned of rising prices

The impact of Plan B Covid restriction will add 10p onto the price of a pint, an industry leader has warned.

On Wednesday Boris Johnson announced that new coronavirus measures would be introduced from Friday in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus.

News that people will be encouraged to work from home and show Covid passes when entering venues from next week inspired a strong reaction from those in the hospitality industry.

Clive Watson, chairman of the City Pub Group, said that the measures have already started to impact demand as people cancelled Christmas parties and meet-ups in a bid to avoid getting infected.

The long term impact of pubs, bars and restaurants not being able to cash-in on the usually lucrative festive period would be higher drinks prices, he said.

The spread of Omicron and the new rules are predicted to have a big impact on the hospitality sector this Christmas


AFP via Getty Images)

Already the cost of a pint was on course to rise by about 25p as a result of higher costs, including energy and wage bills, he said.

Weaker than expecting trading over the key Christmas period would lead to further hikes.

“From about 10 days ago, office parties started to get cancelled, particularly those office parties which were being funded by companies, so typically parties for 40 to 50 people,” Mr Watson told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“After yesterday’s announcement, that has again accelerated, so we’ve seen … a meaningful drop off in those types of bookings.

“Not only are you not making the money, but you’re not building out the cash to help you in the very lean periods in January and February … It’s almost like just taking off the life support machine.

The downturn in trade will have an impact on pint prices, an industry expert has said


AFP via Getty Images)

“Energy prices have gone through the roof. Labour prices … have also gone up significantlly. Inflation is is running at 5%.

“A price of beer in London could be £5. So that comes out at 25p but probably has to increase even more over the course next year.

“But … now we haven’t got the Christmas froth that we were anticipating and somehow we have got to try and recoup that,” Watson said.

“(So that’s) probably another 10p.”

Andy Jones strongly criticised the government


Sky News)

Mr Watson is not person in the industry to express despair about the new measures.

Andy Jones, who has run Jones and Son restaurant in Dalston, north London since 2013, pulled no punches when he laid into the Prime Minister this morning.

The business owner urged the Tory leader to let him “trade without restrictions” after Johnson announced Plan B Covid rules would be introduced to slow the spread of Omicron.

Mr Jones said his business would lose out on £42,000 in one week alone after three of the four large Christmas parties he had booked in cancelled.

The financial impact comes after he hired extra staff to deal with the expected Christmas rush, only to be “slammed again” by coronavirus restrictions.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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